How To Find Yourself When You’re Feeling Lost

Photography: Caroline Hernandez

By Sabrina Scalfari

One morning, not so long ago, as I accompanied my son into his classroom, he marked his arrival by proudly announcing to all who could hear “MY MUM LOST HER JOB!”


Ouch. Like the bandages I so gingerly pull off my children’s scraped knees to trade quick pain for prolonged…the phrase stung. And there was no-one nearby to kiss me and make it all better.

I swallowed my breath, dug around in my proverbial handbag for my brave, big girl face, and attempted to smile. It didn’t work. I welled up instead.

I was sad, of course, to have lost a position I had worked hard for. I was also filled with emotion at his innocence. As I wiped back a few tears, and knelt to say goodbye, he gave me a hug and apologised for making me sad. I told him there was absolutely nothing to apologise for. Everything was OK. Mummy was resilient.

I was? The occurrences of the past month (unexpected expenses, medical bills, redundancy) had made me feel like I had been punched in the gut. The surprises, in succession, had been hard. They had hurt.

Yet, on the whole, I also didn’t feel that bad. My focus was sharpening daily on a plan for our next steps. My son’s innocent announcement had only caught me off guard. In an instant I knew what to say because I knew it was true. I am resilient. I will bounce back from this.

And I think I know why. It’s because I have heroes.

I come from Italian grandparents who left post-war Italy with one suitcase, saying goodbye to their parents forever, for opportunities in foreign lands. “I didn’t even have 2 dollars for a cup of coffee, but I had your Grandmother,” my Nonno would always say.

Growing up, I was always reminded of how the sacrifices that were made by the generations that preceded us made it possible for my brother and I to grow up without strife. My grandparents were ordinary people who were shown, by life, that they were capable of extraordinary strength. Their trials and triumphs became our legends.

In our home, my mother always had a can-do attitude. She let me throw myself at any experience I could whilst growing up. She taught me that messing up was worth the life’s lesson learned, and was necessary for growth. She knew that life twisted and turned, and that I needed to learn to get up again, dust myself off and get back in the saddle.

See page 2 for the rest of the story…

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